NextBus network failure

Diego Lopez, Staff Writer

The Muni Nextbus system is currently broken. Muni says that nearly 70 percent of their vehicles, buses and trains, cannot transmit any data to update the NextMuni system of their location. This leaves Muni riders without knowledge of bus arrival times. Importantly, because the problem originates with MUNI’s data network, no private applications can provide accurate schedule information.

Muni’s NextBus network was built in 2002 and runs on AT&T’s 2G network. This network is currently being deactivated by AT&T, leading to the break in Muni’s system. AT&T announced this change in their network back in August of 2012 in an effort to focus on their 3G and 4G networks. Muni had known of AT&T’s plan to deactivate the network and the impact that it would have on its NextBus system, but did nothing.

Muni says it will have enough information to release a follow up press release next week on a more concrete timeline for fixing the NextBus outage. But in the meantime, a private company has stepped up to provide live crowdsourced data on departure times. A Canadian company has released an update to the popular transit mobile application Transit. The application can help replace the Muni NextBus system by tracking its users’ locations and using this to inform other users on departure times.